Friday, June 3, 2016

Review: Gerald Barry's The Importance of Being Earnest

The conductor is about to begin when a man with a cucumber runs up to him, pushes him off the podium, and then proceeds to raise up his cucumber baton to the audience as the stage goes black and  messy piano variations on Auld Lang Syne are heard over the sound system. Thus opens Gerald Barry's The Importance of Being Earnest. 

Based on Oscar Wilde's hilarious play of the same name, this opera made its US Stage debut last night at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The production, with cast and direction from the Royal Opera, was part of the NY Philharmonic Biennial, the orchestra's festival of modern music and young talent. And there was no shortage of great music last night. 

Being a fan of the play, I was curious to see what the opera would add or subtract from the play's satire. Luckily, Mr. Barry has removed very little from the play in the process of writing the libretto, keeping the spirit in tact. The costuming, however, has moved to the modern day, highlighted by having the priest dress in a bicyclist outfit and a neck brace. Despite the costumes and phones removing the physical setting from the original time period, it still keeps its mannerisms strong. 

The orchestra is working overtime for this show by whistling, shouting in unison, stamping feet, and most of all, not letting the fact that they share the stage with the actors distract them. The percussionists Christopher S. Lamb and Daniel Druckman are especially to be acknowledge for their gun wielding, plate smashing, and große hammering. The show even includes prerecorded piano playing (which opened the show) and chamber male choir (spouting philosophies in Act 1). 

The music is a wild ride with variations on Auld Lang Syne all over the place. Repeating dialogue with dancing to mimic Gilbert and Sullivan's "When I go out of door", French horn and viola trilling to evoke bees, and settings of Ode to Joy as lyric and patter songs. The score is vast and yet so small, the orchestra under Ilan Volkov's direction does it's very best to showcase Gerald Barry's creativity.
 (Score courtesy of Schott and Hal Leonard)
       
With minimal set design, meaning steps and a white backdrop, the physical comedy and personalities of the actors really steals the show. Claudia Boyle as Cecily kept her voice over the staff most of the performance, being the bratty sort of school girl that can match Barbara Hannigan's Mystery of the Macabre performance. It was a perfect counterbalance for Hilary Summers as Miss Prism, whose contralto register and mid word pauses showcase an absentmindedness with old age. Simon Wilding as Lane/Merrimen does most of the stage managing work, even getting to stomp boots on tables and throw the last few dinner plates. I do feel bad for Kevin West, whose speaking role of Reverend Chasuble is a little reduced in this adaptation, removing the dialogue between him and Miss Prism. 

At the work's core though are the four main city folk: Benedict Nelson as Algernon, Paul Curievici as Jack Worthing, Stephanie Marshall as Gwendolyn, and Alan Ewing as Lady Bracknell. Each one is superb, working off each other and leading the emotional and comical high points. Jack's collectiveness stays strong and put under pressure by Bracknell's uptight attitude, Gwendolyn being overly directive, and Algernon's slobby self. 

My favorite point in the show has to be when Gwendolyn and Cecily meet for the first time and do not look at each other while performing sprechstimme through megaphones. Then when she learns about Cecily's identity, Gwendolyn exclaims her discontent while the percussionist throws a dinner plate after every word. Think of SpongeBob in Rock Bottom and you can see that this is doing that right. Even the audience will applaud during a humming pause to acknowledge how great that moment is.



If you get a chance to see this while it's still in NYC, I highly recommend it. (Performances June 3-4 at Rose Theater at Jazz in Lincoln Center) Otherwise, a full performance with the same cast is available to view for free via the Royal Opera's YouTube page. You too can learn "the vital importance of Being Ernest".

Friday, March 25, 2016

Review: Opening night of Donizetti's "Roberto Devereux" at The Metropolitan Opera

Last night, March 24th 2015, I was able to procure a ticket for the Opening Night of the newest production by David McVicar, Donizetti's Roberto Devereux. Below is some background information for the Tudor cycle, followed by my review of the performance.


Background: Roberto Devereux is the third opera by Gaetano Donizetti about the lives of the Tudors in England. The trio of works also includes Anna Bolena, about Henry VIII's ill fated second wife, and Maria Stuarda, about the Queen of Scots' imprisonment and execution. There is a fourth opera preceding these called Il Castello Di Kenilworth, but it is often ignored when performing the cycle the operas. 
Over the past 6 years, The Metropolitan Opera has been preparing for the full Donizetti Tudor Cycle, the product of David McVicar. It started with the 2011 production of Anna Bolena with Anna Netrebko, and 2013's Maria Stuarda with Joyce Di Donato. The cycle would conclude with performances in the 2015-2016 season with soprano Sondra Radvanovsky taking on the title roles of the first two operas, leading up to the role of Queen Elizabeth in Roberto Devereux. General Manager Peter Gelb's plan has been to revive opera popularity in the US by creating new productions with the help of directors like McVicar, Bartlett Sher, Robert Lepage, and Richard Eyre. However, this is the first "cycle" of operas under one director since Lepage's Ring Cycle, which received rave reviews for its performers but mixed reviews for its hulking set. 
The McVicar cycle, however, uses different sets for each opera.

Review
Right when you walk into the auditorium, you are greeted with a dark palace of Nonsuch, featuring the burial coffin of Queen Elizabeth I in white porcelain as two statues, representing time and death, look on from the sides of the main door. So far in this cycle, the most shocking image we have seen pre-overture has been the curtain for Maria Stuarda, featuring a lion and a griffin fighting. And as the overture plays in this opera, we see the courtiers of Elizabeth, played by the Met Chorus, gather on stage as the coffin is taken away. The courtiers then disperse in groups until the stage is set with a royal chair and the courtiers gather behind the columns and in the balcony, separated by sex. As the show goes on, these people do not disappear, but move around in the same spaces, looking on at private scenes of the Royals, clapping at the ends of arias and scenes, and then receiving bows from the main performers at the end of the show. At first, I just thought the chorus was eager to see everyone perform and clapped as you would in a rehearsal, but then they kept doing it, maintaining their role as chorus and audience. However, there are no other aspects to this production to suggest it would be a show within a show, like Sher's production of le comte Ory. The actors do not even address the chorus/audience until the curtain call. I can see it as symbolic of the fact that this is suppose to be after Elizabeth's life and that anything that wasn't public was more or less exaggerated on by a curious  public. 

We are even presented with very minimal scene changes, especially since the first two acts are presented without intermission or pause. The back panel of the stage, with three doors and the two statues, moves forward and backward to change the size of the space. The intimate spaces, the Nottinghams' quarters, are the most forward on stage, while the throne room and house of peers are the farthest back. In the final scene in Elizabeth's private quarters, the large space suggests that what should be the most intimate space for her majesty has become a public, as more and more people enter. And finally, after Devereux's execution, the back panel disappears into the rafters as we are given a larger space and the reappearance of Elizabeth's burial coffin. 

The final moments of the character once again on the way to the grave has been a connecting factor in all three productions. Anne Boleyn removes the bun from her hair as she accepts death and walks toward the scaffold and ending in a red curtain falling in front of the audience. Mary Stuart removes her gown as well as her hair when she makes her way to the scaffold in her final scene. And now, as the scaffold for Robert Devereux has been offstage, we see that Elizabeth's death comes in her removing her dresses, hair, jewelry, until she becomes an old woman in white makeup, white hair, and white night rail. She is as plain as she can possibly be and turns to see her coffin before passing out and dying. This is the chilling finale I have come to expect in this cycle, especially as the chorus sings of James' ascending the throne. 

Other than all this thoughtful and well designed execution of ideas, the best part of the night was the cast. Sondra Radvanovsky, following both operas, transforms into the powerful but bitter old monarch that is Queen Elizabeth I. Vocally and dramatically, she was the star of the show, especially knowing that this is an Elizabeth in her old age becoming more and more like her father, losing those she has favor towards, and unlit matey losing her royalty in her final moments. And fortunately, the supporting cast of Elīna Garanča, Matthew Polenzani, and Mariusz Kwiecién also provided a powerhouse of great performing. In fact, the bromance of Matthew and Mariusz has been on fire this season following their performances in The Pearl Fishers back in January. In more minor roles, we have Brian Downen, making his debut as Lord Cecil, and Christopher Job as Sir Walter Raleigh. Both men were excellent provided the right attention to their vocal lines and characters. 

With Maurizio Benini's great conducting of the orchestra and singers, the incredible costumes, and the tone set by the designers, I can say without a doubt that this production is one of the best in the Met's recent history. My only complaint would have been the cop out of Elizabeth dying of a broken heart. But that goes to the composer and librettist. McVicar presents it as her reaching the end after three long operas and decades of her reign. It is a perfect end to the Tudor Cycle and I hope that in the years to come, there will be more great sopranos willing to take on these roles and that people will see these works from a new perspective. 



Donizetti's Roberto Devereux plays at the Metropolitan Opera until April 19th. Visit metopera.org for casting info and tickets.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Review: La Celestina at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This past March, The Metropolitan Musuem of Art presented a newly commissioned work. It wasn't a painting or a sculpture, but a 25-minute opera from the company Opera Erratica. The work, which played every half hour in the Vélez Blanco Patio, was entitled La Celestina, based on a Spanish Renaissance novel by Fernando de Rojas.

The opera tells the story of a young Calisto, a man who has fallen for a beautiful woman named Melibea. In order to win her love, Calisto sends his servant Sempronio to the witch Celestina so that he can procure a love spell. What Calisto doesn't know is that his servant makes a deal with the witch to trick his master out of more money as well as obtain the love of Elicia, one of Celestina's whores. Using a magic thread and spool, Celestina gets Melibea enchanted enough to have her meet Calisto in private. After payment is given, Sempronio and another servant try to get their money but Celestina refuses, forcing the men to kill her. After being discovered, the two servants are executed and Elicia takes her revenge by killing Calisto when he falls off Melibea's ladder. Melibea then takes her own life, bringing the witch's curse to full circle.

How does one group perform an opera every half hour for almost two weeks? Well, it turns out that all the music and visuals were recorded ahead of time. This work is one in a new trend of installation operas, combining prepared multimedia with a specific location to create a unique experience. The Vélez Blanco Patio follows the architecture of the 16th century, providing a time specific setting for the wall projections, which combine animation with shadow puppetry to visually tell the story. The music was recorded on multiple channels and played from several speakers in the room, with each voice or instrument corresponding to a different sculpture. 

The sculptures as narrators is a concept which has been used before, let us not forget the Muses in Disney's Hercules. But unlike the cartoony nature of moving mouths, the statues are from the actual museum collection and placed around the room, highlighted only by spotlights. The characteristics of each statue are significant of the role they play in the opera. For example, all the bass viol music is attributed to the Orpheus statue, who is portrayed playing the viola del braccio. King Phillip the Second is a bass and Caesar is a countertenor, a little Easter egg for the dedicated opera fans. 

The main debate that is presented at the start of the opera is "How did it happen?". The audience is presented with the visual of five deaths, which occur in the opera and the statues argue over whether the fault is black magic, the devil, love, or jealousy. Phrases from this section return very often, prompting some kind of moral for the ending. In the end, it is love that brings about the ends of the characters. Love of money, sexual desire, and honor, are all downfalls for these people as we are treated to magical thread spun by Celestina.

In between, it was a visual and musical delight. The music, written by Matt Rogers, greatly evokes the Renaissance style while creating the right amount of cacophony. The usage of lights and projections in that darkened patio room prompted fear and empathy for the story, although sometimes it was hard to determine what was being sung or said. With the imbalance of volume in the music, I needed to listen to opera twice in order to better hear the music. The visuals had no problem relaying the story. The scale of both the romantic and political tones of the era are perfectly presented throughout.

Overall, the work is great and it is a shame that it may be a while before it is presented again. While no recordings are available at moment, it doesn't mean that it won't ever come to pass. Alone, the music would make a wonderful stereophonic opera experience. The real thrill, however, is certainly following the model of groups like On-Site Opera, in which one needs to be there to truly experience the production. If more productions from Opera Erratica make their way to NYC, you bet that I will do my best to see them.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Quick word to readers

I am currently taking a break from using this blog for the month of January. I am writing for another blog, Hofstra Opera Musings. Check it out to learn more about Schubert and his two works that I will be a part of. Die Verschworenen, a one act opera based on Lysistrata, and Die Winterreise, a song cycle about death and isolation.

Friday, August 15, 2014

10 Great Opera Villain Moments

Samuel Ramey as Mephistopheles in Gounod's Faust
As an avid opera goer, I find nothing more exciting then a well written villain. From hostile takeovers, kidnapping, manipulation, and murder, there are some incredible villains in the great history of opera. I have compiled a list of my personal favorite moments where the villain gets to shine. These picks are either scenes or arias or a combination of the two. For this list, I have picked ten operas and at least one villain from that opera. My focus will be on opera from the classical era up to the early-mid 20th century, since these are more prevalent in the public eye. I disqualify villains from comic operas and operettas in order to focus on dramas and tragedies. My list does not reflect the views of any other particular person or organization. In no particular order, here is my list of ten great opera villain moments.

1) "Credo in un Dio crudel", Iago from Verdi's Otello
There is no uncertainty in the opera world that Iago is one of the great villains to ever be penned. The second to last of Giuseppe Verdi's great operas, Otello follows the great moor of Shakespeare as his jealousy leads him to commit murder. Who leads him to this downfall? His "trusted" ensign Iago. In the original play, he is more of a trickster and less of a cold hearted demon. He is racist, manipulative,  and competitive. In the opera, Iago is passed over for the appointment of captain by the Moor general Othello. In revenge, he makes up an affair between Desdemona, Othello's wife, and Cassio, a captain in Othello's fleet. In his famous aria, distancing himself from Shakespeare, he declares his belief in a cruel god, who wants nothing more but for men to suffer in this life and the next. This is the epitome of evil for any operatic villain.

2) "La Veau d'Or", Mephistopheles from Gounod's Faust
Historically, there has been no greater force of evil that man fears more than eternal damnation at the hands of the devil. None has been more prevalent than in the legend of Faust, a german scholar who sells his soul for youth and knowledge. The devil Mephistopheles has appeared in many adaptions, but Gounod's Faust was so acclaimed, it ushered in a new age of french opera. In his famous song of the golden calf, Mephistopheles sings an ode to the greed of man, while simultaneously creating a frantic orgy. He knows the sin of the earth and revels in how easily man is led astray.

3) "O Beauty, O Handsomeness, goodness.." Claggart from Britten's Billy Budd
Benjamin Britten's opera, based on the story by Herman Melville, follows the recollection of  british Captain Vere's days as a captain during the days of the French Revolution. After taking on new recruit Billy Budd via impressment, John Claggart, master-at-arms of Veer's ship, orders his spy Squeak to get the young man in trouble. When his plan fails and he sees Billy's innocence and loyalty, Claggart curses goodness and beauty, stating that he will destroy the boy who brought it on the ship. In the second act, he frames Billy for conspiracy to mutiny. When Billy is charged in front of Vere, he stammers and kills Claggart with a single punch. This ultimately leads to Billy's execution.

4) "Schweig', damit dich niemand warnt"/Wolf's Glenn scene- Caspar from Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischutz
This is the only combination of two separate moments from the same opera. Der Freischutz is considered the first great romantic german opera. When a hunting ranger named Maxwell fears that he will be unable to pass a trial shot before his wedding, he seeks the help of a fellow ranger Caspar to help him obtain magic bullets. Unbeknownst to him, Caspar is the cause of Maxwell's unlucky streak, due to some supernatural assistance. In the finale of Act 1, Caspar sings of how he will use the magic bullets to exact revenge on Maxwell for stealing his former love Agathe. In the Wolf's Glenn, Caspar calls on the devil, portrayed as the Black Huntsman, to give him one more day to find a replacement soul, Maxwell. The rest of the scene involves the creation of the magic bullets, summoning wild creatures, demons, and spirits to the land of the living. The day of the wedding, the plan fails. The final bullet, controlled by the devil, misses its intended target and kills Caspar.

5) "Der Holle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen", The Queen of the Night from Mozart's The Magic Flute
Yes, this list has an overload of testosterone. But that doesn't mean we don't have great female villains in opera. None can match the pure evil that is The Queen of the Night. Sopranos of all ages envy this role for its difficulty and her power. In the first act of the opera, Tamino is sent on a quest to save the queen's daughter from the evil Sarastro. By the time we see he again, we find that the queen is actually the villain, and Sarastro the good guy. In her famous aria, she orders her daughter Pamina to kill Sarastro or be killed herself. It is one of Mozart's greatest arias and remains a classic to this day.

6) "Va, Tosca", Scarpia from Puccini's Tosca
None of Puccini's villains is as sadistic and lustful than Baron Scarpia, chief of police for the city of Rome. He is after a political prisoner and the affection of Floria Tosca, an opera singer. Knowing that her boyfriend Cavaradossi is an accomplice and a political ally for the prisoner Angelotti, he uses her emotions to his advantage. After tricking Tosca into thinking that her lover is having an affair with another woman, she confesses to Cavaradossi's whereabouts. When Scarpia believes that he has both the prisoner and Tosca in his sights, he sings of his love of Tosca, which is distracting him from the Te Deum performed in the church. This is some of Puccini's most chilling writing.

7) Revival Scene, Olin Blitch from Carlisle Floyd's Susannah
What is a villain without power? And what greater power than a religious god? In this classic american opera, a young woman is judged by her townsfolk for her supposed sin. Along comes Olin Blitch, a revival pastor, who comes to town to judge the wicked and save the good. At a revival meeting, Blitch gives a sermon aimed at Susannah of how God punishes the wicked. After public humiliation, he rapes her. After Susannah's brother kills Blitch in revenge, she ostracizes herself from the rest of the town. Many situations like this were based in the cold reality of life in the southern USA, and touched the souls of many facing the wrath of Senator McCarthy's Red Scare.

8) "Quel vecchio maledivami", Sparafucile from Verdi's Rigoletto
This is one of the two duets I have on this list. Sparafucile is an assassin who introduces himself to Rigoletto, and is later hired to kill the Duke of Mantua...unsuccessfully. He lives to kill for cash uses his sister to seduce his victims. Before this meeting, Count Monterone places a father's curse on the Duke for raping his daughter, and on Rigoletto for mocking him. After Rigoletto's own daughter Gilda has been saved from the Duke and Monterone only reverses the curse on the Duke before his execution, Rigoletto has no choice but to have the Duke assassinated. But, after Sparafucile's sister falls for the Duke, he decides that he will kill someone else (Gilda) and take the money. He has no moral center to anything but family and money. I consider this an important moment

9) "Son'io dinazi al re?", The Grand Inquisitor from Verdi's Don Carlo

The second scene involving two characters is the meeting of the Grand Inquisitor with King Philip of Spain in Don Carlo. The Inquisitor is so full of himself that he essentially tells the king to kill anyone who dares defy the kingdom and the church. In this case, he means his son Carlo and his friend Rodrigo, a revolutionary. He is the ultimate power in the case. His influence is the reason so many people died by the hands of the inquisition. He goes into depth of how god is commanding him to rid the world of evil. And of course, the dark deep bass is terrifying enough as it is.

10) "Bin ich nun frei?", Alberich from Wagner's Das Rheingold
No other villain casts a shadow that take four operas to bring to an end. Alberich is the main antagonist of the Ring Cycle. He is a dwarf who takes the enchanted rheingold to fasten a ring to give him unlimited power, but only by denouncing love. Wotan, king of the gods, kidnaps Alberich, takes all his gold to pay a debt to some giants, and cuts off his hand to take the ring. Angered, Alberich places a curse on the ring. It will bring death and destruction to whoever holds it until it is returned back to him. He is mentioned in Die Walkure, plots to take the ring from a young warrior in Siegfried, and commands his son to kill Siegfried and take the ring before being dragged down to his death by the rhinemaidens in Gotterdammerung. His curse lays down the foundation for the rest of the cycle.

Well, that's my list of some of the best villain moments in opera. If you agree, disagree, or have your own favorite that wasn't mentioned here, feel free to comment down below.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Castleton Diaries: Week 7- A Condensed Week and an Elegy

I had originally meant for this to be posted before the events of Sunday came around. Unfortunately, things never go as you plan, life has its ways of taking the things we hold dear. I am currently in mourning of Lorin Maazel, a great man who I had the privilege to meet a few weeks ago, but whom I had admired my entire life. So, I will divide this into two parts: a quick summary of the week following the Don Giovanni premiere and my thoughts on the late maestro.

The Sunday after opening night, I went to a wonderful after party hosted by a donor, and went swimming in the lake with the rest of the CATS.
 Monday I went to Shenandoah Park and did a 2 mile hike with my housemates.
 The rest of the week went by without much except a concert on Thursday at the wonderful Hylton Center at George Mason University with Jonathan Beyer and Denyce Graves.
 Then I met Margaret Warner, famous host of PBS News Hour, who was to narrate Peter and the Wolf that Sunday. After another Butterfly and Don Giovanni performance, we all got the shocking news that Maazel passed on Sunday morning, so we dedicated the Story in Music Concert in his memory. Dietlinde, his wife, was not able to narrate his pieces as originally planned. Luckily, Maria Tucci, who had performed in a reading of Don Juan in Hell by GB Shaw, had agreed to step in. Plus, we had the wonderfully outlandishly dressed Sir James Galway perform in one of the pieces. He also gave a masterclass the day beforehand. During the company party, we gave a toast to Lorin Maazel, "the greatest showman who ever lived".

Now, how to honor this man? How do I go and tell the world the great deeds he has done? I can't. Everyone else has. It would be useless to say what he has done when it has been printed by every newspaper in the world. I attended a memorial service for him this past Wednesday. Never in my life would I ever think I was important enough to be part of his family. But there I was, with my fellow "Castletonians" as one speaker put it. I can never thank the man enough for everything he has done to inspire my life's ambitions. The man was truly a citizen of the world, and just for a few weeks, he was part of mine.

Now, I never got to shoot the breeze with him.The only time I ever talked to him about anything musical was over Facebook. And I think I lost that conversation years ago. And when I finally talked to him here, It was just a question as to whether or not I needed to print scores for all the conducting fellows. That was all. Everything else I ever heard him say was to the orchestra and singers. And every word out of his mouth was magic, or to more age appropriate, remarkable. The last time he was in the theater was for a Don Giovanni dress rehearsal. Since then, he had been watching every performance from his manor house on the farm. He was a pleasure to meet and will be an inspiration to millions in the future. Thanks to this festival, Youtube, and the hundreds of recordings he has made. No future musican will ever be able to learn about great music men without hearing the name Lorin Maazel. Thank You Maestro. Godspeed.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Castleton Diaries: Week 7, Extra- The Rant (Optional Reading)

---Warning: Rant Ahead-----

The Don Giovanni premiere went very well. Splendid cast and orchestra, wonderful sets, not so shining reviews. 

"Worse was the coda: Giovanni’s comeuppance is taken not by him, but by a doppelganger who shadows him at various points during the show. Giovanni stands by to watch, bemused, as the doppelganger is dragged off to Hades. He then provides cynical, pantomime commentary on the other characters’ denouements, upstaging them with a quick, final sexual conquest. So the moral of the story, I guess, is that as long as you stay true to your libertine principles, nothing bad will befall you."-Robert Battey, Washinton Post

He bashed the conductor, the costumes, and our concept, but the cast blew him away. I don't care what he has to say. I thought everything was incredible. My personal philosophy for putting on an opera is that you are always putting on a show for someone who has never seen an opera. Your production be whatever you want, but if your audience can't follow along with the story or with the emotions of the characters, then you are, and excuse my language for this with kids, s**t out of luck. This production was alive and engaging, and I was sitting in the wings the entire night. 

But the one thing I will care about is how in both opera reviews from The Washington Post, they continually set out to rip on the conductors. I think that this is simply because they are not Maazel. Things happen, people get sick, that is the whole reason why we have assistant conductors. Brad Moore is exceptional. Salvatore Percacciolo knows the work with such clear definition in his mind. I have spent weeks watching these rehearsals. The only things I have concern over are the length of the rehearsals, at least two 3-hour rehearsals a day for at least 6 days of the week. These musicians are kicking behinds and taking names, and I think that people should give them a break when it comes to being criticized. 

Maazel was there when they picked every musician and conductor who auditioned for this program. He has given his blessing to everything in the output and input of these performances. He has been watching every performance via live stream. He is essentially our Big Brother, ironic because he wrote the operatic version of 1984. Plus, we are working with ridiculous circumstances. Musicians are out of commission left and right and we need to fill replacements at the last minute notice. New practice parts have to be scanned and printed on the daily, not just for concerts, but Chamber Cabarets before each concert and the weekend chamber and scenes concerts. Instruments have to be moved between rehearsal spaces and performance venues on the daily. Internet and Phone service are incredibly limited. But that is all made up for in talent and drive. 

After Maazel passes over the reins of this festival, it is up to the musicians, singers, directors, teachers, and conductors to make this festival worth while for the duration of its existence, which i hope will be a long one because Rappahannock County needs this festival like a dog needs a bone. I have total faith in the people who brought me here. And one day, I hope it will be able to stand on its own without Maazel. He started this project, and it is up to the people to keep it going. 

---This concludes the rant. We return to our original programming in the next post---
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